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‘In laws’ living in Spain

Mel2012

New member
Oct 15, 2020
3
Hi
Recently found out that my father in law has been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. Both live in Spain for the last 30 years and have made their life there. Apparently the changes have happened over a period of years, but both have become good at hiding the symptoms and my mother in law had respected his request not to tell anyone ( let’s call them Janet and John, otherwise I waffle on). We haven’t visited , as they live a full life , during this time and they usually get lots of visitors. Janet asked us to visit this year, which raised alarm, but she assured us that John was just becoming forgetful.

It has become clear that John has some form of dementia. Jon has seen his GP on one occasion and he made the diagnosis, John has refused to go for any further tests. The GP in Spain is happy to treat and liaise with Janet.

Both my husband and myself feel overwhelmed, we have arranged to visit every few weeks, at the minute, we are very lucky as we are both in good health and have the ability to work from home on return.

We would be grateful for any advice or signposting anyone could give.
Janet has clearly done a remarkable job of caring for him, but I worry ,as he deteriorates, will she be able to continue with this. They have made a good life for themselves in Spain and do not want to return to the U.K. , although Janet has not ruled this out completely . Has anyone had experience of this of care available in Spain? Are there any Support groups in the south of Spain? Will she be able to get any support from anywhere? Are there any care facilities? Will this be feasible?

They haven’t got a POA, he would lack capacity to put this in place now. What should we advice?

We are both reading about the conditions ,there are a lot of resources on the site and feel we just need to get our head around this, but I am really struggling for information specifically for Spain.
I am sure I will be back with a lot more questions!
Thank you x
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
13,256
England
Hi and welcome to Dementia Talking Point.

You might find this site useful

We can certainly help and support you with looking after someone with dementia but knowing what’s available or how the system works in Spain is a little difficult.

We do have members all around the world so maybe someone will be along with information that will be based on Spanish knowledge.

Please keep posting here though with any questions you might have.
 

clarerobinson

Registered User
Jan 22, 2012
13
66
West Sussex
Hi
Recently found out that my father in law has been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. Both live in Spain for the last 30 years and have made their life there. Apparently the changes have happened over a period of years, but both have become good at hiding the symptoms and my mother in law had respected his request not to tell anyone ( let’s call them Janet and John, otherwise I waffle on). We haven’t visited , as they live a full life , during this time and they usually get lots of visitors. Janet asked us to visit this year, which raised alarm, but she assured us that John was just becoming forgetful.

It has become clear that John has some form of dementia. Jon has seen his GP on one occasion and he made the diagnosis, John has refused to go for any further tests. The GP in Spain is happy to treat and liaise with Janet.

Both my husband and myself feel overwhelmed, we have arranged to visit every few weeks, at the minute, we are very lucky as we are both in good health and have the ability to work from home on return.

We would be grateful for any advice or signposting anyone could give.
Janet has clearly done a remarkable job of caring for him, but I worry ,as he deteriorates, will she be able to continue with this. They have made a good life for themselves in Spain and do not want to return to the U.K. , although Janet has not ruled this out completely . Has anyone had experience of this of care available in Spain? Are there any Support groups in the south of Spain? Will she be able to get any support from anywhere? Are there any care facilities? Will this be feasible?

They haven’t got a POA, he would lack capacity to put this in place now. What should we advice?

We are both reading about the conditions ,there are a lot of resources on the site and feel we just need to get our head around this, but I am really struggling for information specifically for Spain.
I am sure I will be back with a lot more questions!
Thank you x
Hello, I live in Southern Spain, with my elder with dementia. I live in a 4 genetation household, in a village far from the coast so the culture is for home care by relatives, but that's not to say that there are not care homes and home carers. The first port of call is the social services, here we have a social worker assigned to the village, who comes once a week.

If your parents are in a developed area on the Costas, with a big Brit population there will definately be more services, and depending on their language skills they can probably access help with the Spanish system or find support within the British immigrant community. Everywhere is the British Legion, and for sure they will signpost you to all sorts of help.

I'm going to assume that they had all their paperwork in place for residency years ago and access the public healthcare system in Spain, if they haven't, hurry up because the final throes of Brexit is in a few weeks.

I would say that my observation is that the care of elders is cheaper better and more loving here than in UK, however covid has a different social response here than UK. People are more afraid and far more careful about being exposed to it. This smashed the confidence in care homes, and decimated the base of those willing to work in them, covid has also extremely reduced the number of people willing to work as carers visiting multiple confused people in their homes. The pandémica is making it super hard to deal effectively with all branches of bureaucracy too.

Depending at what stage of dementia is your dad, I feel like it's time to get really pro active. Is your mum able to give you POA? Even if your dad can't, if she does, maybe that's a good plan? Or are they both suffering? It seems like only the dad...

It's probably a good idea to future proof their home a bit. If there are steps and different levels between rooms, cramped spaces, like a loo with an inward opening door, small shower cubicle, balcony which is only safe if you are fully aware of what you are doing, thin walls with neighbours who would be disturbed by night noise, if they are in an apartment, gas hob, macerator toilet.... How is the heating? It can be cold at night and dementia sufferers feel the cold and are often annoyingly active at night... heating systems in Spain aren't as sophisticated as in UK. Pay a visit maybe and really think through their home structure, clutter that can cause trips, and all things that will make life difficult as frailty and confusion increases

I could go on but not knowing the circumstances I would be waffling. I'm very happy to help if you want me to, it would help to know which Autonomous Region and Province they live in. I am in Andalucía un Granada Province. Things are different in different regions.

My parting words, this condition will not go away, and will not abate, it may be slow to get worse, but it will get worse, with only another elder to help him it is a huge burden on the wife, and as her mentors and loving family I urge you to begin to take more control. They need not see it that way, they can see it as help and love, obviously having not visited, it's hard to now visit more without it seeming to be interference, elders, especially UK bred and born, can be seriously off the scale of stroppy and stubborn. Lucky my elder is not British! She is such a queen!
 

clarerobinson

Registered User
Jan 22, 2012
13
66
West Sussex

That's the site I'd recommend for information specific to Spain. Don't worry if you can't read Spanish, there is a button at the bottom of the page to translate it
 
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clarerobinson

Registered User
Jan 22, 2012
13
66
West Sussex
Another thought, every area has a Facebook group particularly aimed at British immigrants, so maybe find and join that, and you will soon be embraced by local help signposting and advice. Sometimes you will have to be thick skinned, there are many "rednecks" who can be a bit offensive or snippy on there forums, but the moderators are normally quick to nip in the bud any disparaging remarks about local services and the different attitudes between UK and Spain. It's honestly a mine of information though, particularly if you look for help in your parents home, day centres, shopping help, and so on
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,154
Scotland
@clarerobinson I know you mean well and I’m sure care in a care home is cheaper in Spain but my experience in Scotland is that there many excellent and caring homes. The ones that do badly are those that get publicity but it would be wrong and unfair to assume all care homes are like that.

My experience when living in Spain was that the health system seemed very good indeed but social care was not as comprehensive as here in Scotland however I can see fromthis forum that the pattern for that too varies across the UK. While this pandemic is around I doubt very much is happening anywhere.
 

clarerobinson

Registered User
Jan 22, 2012
13
66
West Sussex
Mel2012,

My heart goes out to Janet, she sounds such a trooper and just like me wanting to mix in a multinational friendship group! Bravo! She is also really wise to seek stimulation for Jon from people who speak his mother tongue.

Much as the "ex-pat" community is not my cup of tea, there is a spirit of mutual support that has been helpful mostly, sometimes a little ott, but it's sensible to take help humbly from where you can. There are others in the same situation, or might be soon, and peer support can be a huge comfort. Take advantage the diaspora mentality!

Concerning local support, it's time to bite the bullet, swallow hard and approach the British Legion, they will help with equipment loan, sourcing stuff , signposting. I honestly was very grateful for a loan of equipment from the Brit Legion when my oldie found the need for a commode very suddenly earlier on in her journey towards end of life. .. she has benefitted from a few little aids, and donated a few out grown things to pay back.. And.... they found me a hairdresser that was switched on to her needs!

Can Janet afford private care help? There are lots of English speaking folk on the costas who are experienced in elder care from their work life in UK, and would do a couple of hours cash in hand even if it takes time to get Jon familiar with a couple of new faces.

I'm returning the virtual hug.. It must be a bit strain for Janet and a sense of frustration for you guys to feel you want to help but are so remote, and added to which they have up to now been so super independent.... Lesson for us all! Future proof our needs!
 
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Mel2012

New member
Oct 15, 2020
3
Mel2012,

My heart goes out to Janet, she sounds such a trooper and just like me wanting to mix in a multinational friendship group! Bravo! She is also really wise to seek stimulation for Jon from people who speak his mother tongue.

Much as the "ex-pat" community is not my cup of tea, there is a spirit of mutual support that has been helpful mostly, sometimes a little ott, but it's sensible to take help humbly from where you can. There are others in the same situation, or might be soon, and peer support can be a huge comfort. Take advantage the diaspora mentality!

Concerning local support, it's time to bite the bullet, swallow hard and approach the British Legion, they will help with equipment loan, sourcing stuff , signposting. I honestly was very grateful for a loan of equipment from the Brit Legion when my oldie found the need for a commode very suddenly earlier on in her journey towards end of life. .. she has benefitted from a few little aids, and donated a few out grown things to pay back.. And.... they found me a hairdresser that was switched on to her needs!

Can Janet afford private care help? There are lots of English speaking folk on the costas who are experienced in elder care from their work life in UK, and would do a couple of hours cash in hand even if it takes time to get Jon familiar with a couple of new faces.

I'm returning the virtual hug.. It must be a bit strain for Janet and a sense of frustration for you guys to feel you want to help but are so remote, and added to which they have up to now been so super independent.... Lesson for us all! Future proof our needs!
Again thank you so much, you have no idea how much you’re helping.
 
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